28th February 2023
Read (Matthew 9v18-36)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
Have you ever heard the phrase "familiarity breeds contempt"? It means that when we become too familiar with someone or something we grow to take it for granted or even outright despise it. May the Lord keep us from such an attitude to the things of God. Who is Jesus? He is the Messiah and He is always worthy of our worship and awe.
Jesus was confronted by the death of a ruler's little girl (v18) and despite the crowd mocking Christ's assertion that the little girl was merely sleeping (v24), when He took her by the hand the little girl rose again from the dead (v25).
Jesus was making His way to the home of the dead girl when a woman suffering from a twelve year persistent bleed touched the fringe of His garment knowing that even a touch would heal her illness (v20-21). Jesus turned and told the lady “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” and she was (v22).
Jesus was followed by two blind men who were crying aloud “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” (v27). They believed that Jesus was able to restore their sight (v28) and so Christ touched their eyes and said “According to your faith be it done to you.” (v29). Their eyes were opened and the light of the day streamed in.
Jesus was introduced to a demon-oppressed man who was unable to speak as a result of the demon's work (v32). Jesus cast out the demon and immediately the man's tongue was loosed (v33)
Jesus was the One who travelled through cities, villages and synagogues, teaching and preaching the Gospel and healing every disease and affliction (v35). He had great compassion on the crowds who knew every difficulty of life in this sinful world but were like sheep without a shepherd (v36).
The response to the ministry of Christ and these miracles in particular was largely positive. The crowds marvelled and said “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” (v33). The report of the little girl's death and resurrection spread through the district (v26). Christ warned the blind men not to tell anyone about their healing (v30). This was because Jesus did not seek an adoring crowd who would praise His works, instead the Lord received His authority from God and His mission was not fame but the cross. Nevertheless the once blind men spread the fame of Christ everywhere they went (v31).
Not everyone was thankful. The Pharisees stated “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.” (v34). In simple terms the Pharisees were confident that Jesus was only able to perform His miracles because He was in league with Satan. This great sin is called "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" and it is called the "unforgivable sin" (Mark 3v29). It is sinful unrepentant malicious disbelief. The Pharisees had every advantage of seeing Jesus, hearing Jesus and witnessing His great works and this familiarity produced in them utter contempt. These were men who knew the Word of God and nevertheless claimed that Christ's power was Satanic.
We have moved breathlessly through this passage and deliberately so. My friends one miracle rests on another and then another. Nothing confronted Jesus that He was not able to overcome and we absolutely must move to the conclusion that Christ was indeed the long hoped for Messiah.
How will we respond to this message that we have heard for generations? I fear that the modern church has lost its wonder at the majestic story of the Gospel. We are all too familiar with the four Gospel accounts and our mouths rarely drop open in awe at the sheer glory of Christ. Perhaps familiarity has bred contempt?
May it not be so. Jesus is the dead raising, illness healing, sight giving, demon destroying, tongue loosing, Gospel preaching Messiah. He came not to gather a crowd impressed with His works, but to save a people from their sin. He is not in league with Satan but came to crush the serpent's head. Brothers and sisters, read these familiar verses and respond in the correct manner. How often are we disinterested followers who have grown weary of the things of God? God forgive us! God change us! Respond to Christ in reverence and awe!
Q88 What are the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption? The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption are, his ordinances, especially the Word, Sacraments, and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.